FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe is this month end expected to address Zanu PF warring factions in Manicaland province, where Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri and Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene have reportedly crossed swords, NewsDay has learnt.
Zanu PF insiders said the First Lady, who is now regarded as the kingmaker in the faction-ridden party, will attend to the province’s endless factional wars during her launch of women’s development project at Cashel Valley in Chimanimani.
“On September 30, the First Lady will address a rally at Cashel Valley in Chimanimani and top of the agenda are fights in the province pitting Chimene and Muchinguri. The issue was raised in the last politburo meeting and the discussions indicated that things are not well there,” a senior party member said.
Chimene and Muchinguri are reportedly fighting over control of the province, although both have publicly denied the allegations. “In the politburo it was agreed that a delegation be sent to heal the rift, which is threatening the viability of the party in the province,” the source said.
Although Zanu PF Manicaland provincial Women’s League boss Happiness Nyakuedzwa refused to disclose details about the First Lady’s visist to Manicaland, party sources said the trip had been confirmed.
“She (Nyakuedzwa) is just afraid to confirm, all MPs have been told to prepare for the First Lady’s visit,” said another party insider who declined to be named.
“The problem that I see between the two is that of egos. None of them listens to the other and they both claim to be close to the President. The problem is that the time Chimene was appointed minister was the same time Muchinguri was unofficially declared the political god-mother of Manicaland,” said an informed Zanu PF member.
“Chimene might have an upper hand in that she is trying to be closer to Grace at a time when there are reports that Muchinguri has crossed swords with the President’s wife,” added the official.
Muchinguri’s supporters said they felt Chimene was overstepping her mandate and that she was mixing government business and party politics to build her own base.